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New Relief Bill Would Bring Funds To Maine For Testing, Help With Unemployment

Congress is poised to pass a fourth major pandemic relief bill, at a cost of about $484 billion. Maine will get funding for unemployment, hospitals and testing.

The biggest part of the bill, $370 billion, will go to provide additional money for the Paycheck Protection Program that offers forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, and to the self-employed.  

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is urging businesses and individuals to apply as soon as they can "because I worry that this money - while I am very gratified we have replenished the coffers - I am not sure how long it will last.”

Collins says Maine will benefit from the $75 billion provision for payments to hospitals and other medical care providers. She says the $25 billion for testing is also crucial, and that Maine is estimated to get just over $16 million for testing and related costs.

In a statement, Maine Sen. Angus King says he supports the package, even though it provides no help for states and municipalities that have lost revenues because of the pandemic.

The House takes up the measure on Thursday.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.